The fight that all boxing fans have been so eagerly anticipating has suffered yet another setback. News came out of Manny Pacquiao's camp earlier this week that he is to pursue a new opponent after talks with Floyd Mayweather Jr broke down once again and I thought I would express my concerns on the story.
If the two are unable to make the bout go ahead then it would surely have to be the greatest fight to never happen. Pacquiao and Mayweather currently stand at first and second respectively in Ring Magazine's pound-for-pound ratings, making them the best two boxers in the world across all weight-classes. Yet, despite the fact that it will almost certainly be the most lucrative contest in boxing history, the two seem unable to agree terms for the fight.
It would be a fight that would have even part-time boxing fans salivating. The prospect of seeing Pacquiao and Mayweather in the same ring is something that the boxing world has been desperate to see for several years now.
The form of each of the fighters over the last few years has been beyond impressive. They both made Ricky Hatton, himself a world-champion, look distinctly average. Floyd 'Money' Mayweather boast an unbeaten record of 41-0-. His elusive defensive and devastating speed make him one of the most naturally gifted boxers ever to step into the ring. After the masterclass that he, like Pacquiao, gave Hatton he has also gone on to show up Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez , themselves formidable opponents if perhaps past their best.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, has been in even more devastating form. Unlike Mayweather, Pacquiao has suffered defeats in his professional career, his record stands at 51-3-2. The Philippine legend has, however, won more fights by way of knock-out (38 compared to Mayweather's 25). His punching power and speed has been effortlessly transferred between the seven weight-classes in which he has been crowned world champion as 'The Pacman' has eaten up any challengers to stand in his way.
The two are, quite simply, in a league of their own. The increasing chance that these two great boxers will never meet in the ring would therefore be a tragic loss for the boxing world. The breakdown has been well documented. Mayweather has requested blood tests right up till the start of the fight. Pacquiao has said he would accept urine tests throughout and blood tests far enough in advance of the fight but not too soon before it.
It had appeared as though the two had agreed on the drug testing rules for the fight a couple of months ago but negotiations have again broken down as, according to Pacquiao, Mayweather “didn't want to commit”. Floyd Mayweather Sr,on the other hand, has been quick to state that his son was not dodging the fight and launched his own attack on Pacquiao calling him a "midget" and a "faggot". Amidst this war of words it has become unclear as to what is preventing the fight from going ahead. One thing remains sure though, if the two do not come to fight each other it would further damage an already troubled sport.
Viewing figures are on the decline, fights happen less often and interest levels seem to be falling in favour of the increasingly popular mixed martial arts sports. The problem is that fights between the best fighters in a weight-class are too rare. Boxers look for an easy pay-day, an angle to keep their belt or simply fight whoever their promoters or managers tell them to fight.
The quantity of different belts available has only exacerbated the problems. There are WBA, WBO, WBC, IBF and IBA belts, just to name a few. This enables the big fighters to easily avoid the other top names while still holding title belts. It is the lack of fights between the two best boxers in any given weight-class that has contributed to the demise of the sport in the 21st Century.
Perhaps the fact that the two premier boxers of this generation could quite possibly not fight one another indicates that boxing has now come to be dominated by the media and promotion circus that surrounds it. If laws on drug testing are not clear then the boxing federation ought to examine their rulebook. Ultimately, regardless of reasons why, a failure to make the Pacquiao v Mayweather bout go ahead would challenge the credibility of the sport. This is a fight that fans want to see to happen and, more importantly, the sport of boxing needs to see happen or risk the 'sweet science' being brought into further disrepute.
Thoughts, comments and opinions please...